What Is Intermittent Fasting (IF)?
Intermittent fasting is described as an eating pattern wherein you schedule your meals. The interval between periods ranges from a few hours up to 24 hours or more. Unlike other diet methods, intermittent fasting is not focused on what you eat but on when you eat. It is one of the most well-known ways to lose weight. In fact, it ranked #1 in popularity according to a 2018 survey.
Research shows that this diet is helpful for successful weight loss. At the same time, it reduces risks for health conditions such as high blood pressure and high cholesterol. There are many ways on how to start low carb intermittent fasting.
What Are the Different Methods of Intermittent Fasting?
During intermittent fasting, you cycle between periods of fasting and eating. There are many approaches on how to start low carb intermittent fasting. These include:
The 5:2 Method
This is also known as the twice-a-week approach. In this method, you limit your calorie intake to 500 calories only for two days a week. You may eat normally during the remaining five days. You may choose any day of the week as long as there is a non-fasting day in between. Incorporate high-protein and healthy fats to compensate for the low carbohydrates.
Alternate Day Method
This is a modified approach where you fast every other day. Calorie intake per day can also differ. For example, in one day you limit your meals to a certain percentage of your normal intake.
Time-Restricted Fasting (16/8 or 14/10)
During this method, choose an eating window every day. Ideally, you fast for 14 to 16 hours. This is recommended for people who are trying IF for the first time. Additionally, you fast while sleeping. Therefore, this method is convenient since you are just extending your overnight fast by not eating until noon.
The 24-Hour Method
This is also known as the eat-stop-eat approach. It involves fasting for 24 hours. It is commonly done once or twice a week. This approach, however, can cause fatigue, headaches, and low energy. Make sure you eat a normal, balanced diet during your non-fasting days.
All these methods on how to start low carb intermittent fasting involve reducing calorie intake. This is why people find it the simplest way to lose weight. It comes down to personal preference on which approach to use, as long as you do not overeat during your non-fasting days.
How Does Intermittent Fasting Work?
Many people do intermittent fasting due to its weight loss effectiveness. In fact, a 2014 study1 found out that intermittent fasting caused a 3-8% drop in body weight over the course of three to 24 weeks. How to start low carb intermittent fasting mainly involves limiting calorie intake.
Clinical nutrition physician Maricar Esculto explained in an article2 the science behind the correlation between fasting and weight loss. Intermittent fasting allows you to eat fewer calories. She added, “It lowers the insulin level in the blood and if the person has no intake of food for a prolonged period of time, fat will be mobilized to supply the body’s energy needs.” Simply put, your body will have to use stored energy, which is a way of burning fat.
How Intermittent Fasting Causes Affects Your Metabolism:
- Insulin: This hormone is responsible for converting sugar to stored energy (fat). Therefore, the more you eat, the more you increase insulin levels. Intermittent fasting reverses the fat-storing process. When you fast, insulin levels decline, promoting fat burning (weight loss).
- Human growth hormone (HGH): Growth hormone regulates body composition, muscle gain, and metabolism, among others. According to studies3, fasting stimulates HGH, making it increase five-fold.
- Norepinephrine (noradrenaline): This functions as a neurotransmitter in the brain and body. During intermittent fasting, this causes fat cells to break into free fatty acids which can be burned4 for energy.
What Are the Benefits of Intermittent Fasting?
Before you learn how to start low carb intermittent fasting, it is important to know the health benefits you can gain. These include: